The rights and responsibilities of unemployed job seekers

Receiving unemployment benefits is conditional on many factors, which is why you have not only rights but also certain obligations.

The rights of unemployed job seekers    

The term unemployed job seeker refers to people who are without employment, have been laid off, and job seekers who are not part of the workforce.   

Once you have registered as a job seeker, you are entitled to    

  • public employment services, which are determined by your service needs and
  • unemployment security, if you meet the conditions for it.

Together with your assigned expert at either the TE Office or the local government pilot for employment, you will create an employment plan. The plan will be a record of your job seeking goals and obligations, and the actions you will take to achieve those goals. You will review the plan and your progress through it with your assigned expert every three months.

Your entitlement to unemployment benefits is affected by whether you are a wage earner, an entrepreneur, self-employed, or a student. How much work you do and how long you work is also significant.

Your assigned expert will always assess the amount of work required for your activities on a case-by-case basis, as this will have an impact on your unemployment security. The amount of work you do is the key factor in the assessment, not your income or profit. The assessment made by authorities of the TE Office or the local government pilot may not be in line with the decisions made by the providers of unemployment security, i.e. KELA, unemployment insurance funds, or the Tax Administration.

While receiving an unemployment benefit, and provided you meet the prerequisites, you can    

  • study part-time,    
  • complete short-term studies (lasting 6 months at most),
  • engage in volunteering or other work that is unpaid, regular, and for the public good,    
  • work part-time, 
  • work as a part-time entrepreneur or in a short-term commission relationship, or   
  • become a full-time entrepreneur or self-employed. The full or part-time nature of entrepreneurial activity or self-employment is not assessed for the first four months after you start such activities if you have started them while being unemployed. 

However, you must notify the TE Office or the local government pilot in advance of any changes in your situation in order to check your entitlement to unemployment security.

Responsibilities of unemployed job seekers    

If you are applying for or already receive an unemployment benefit, you need to search for full-time work. Only job seekers who receive a partial disability pension are entitled to unemployment benefits without being obligated to seek full-time employment. A nonconditional requirement of receiving unemployment benefits is that your job search is valid. Your job search is considered valid when you are working with the TE Office or local government pilot in the agreed manner and at the agreed times, and you are observing any instructions and deadlines given through E-services or other official channels.

In addition to this, you have to take care of the following responsibilities:

  • Ensure you can be reached and keep your contact information up to date. You can notify officials on any changes through E-services or calling the telephone service.  
  • Accept work that is offered to you by your assigned expert or an employer. If the job offer made by your expert is mandatory, you are required to contact the employer. You must also report contacting the employer by the deadline.
  • Accept training your assigned expert offers you. Training offers require you to apply for programmes such as vocational labour market training. You must report your applications by the deadline. 
  • Attend the agreed interviews, job search discussions, and supplementary job search discussions. Participate in drawing up and reviewing your employment plan, activation plan, or integration plan.
  • Apply for and participate in all employment-promoting services that are agreed in the employment plan or provided to you. Perform all the actions agreed on in the employment plan and report actions you have completed.
  • If you are under 25 and do not have any post-comprehensive or post-upper-secondary education leading to a qualification or professional capabilities, you need to apply for at least two education programmes in the spring to receive unemployment benefits. Your entitlement to unemployment security will be reviewed at the beginning of the autumn semester, starting from 1 September. You can find more information and guidance from the One-Stop Guidance Center closest to you.
  • Inform the TE Office or the local government pilot of any changes to your contact information.

Note that if you neglect your responsibilities, you may lose your entitlement to unemployment security for a fixed period or indefinitely. 

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More information

Register as a job seeker

You can easily register as an unemployed job seeker in the E-services of TE services.


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